It’s with a heavy heart I write this post in memoriam of Professor Gridley McKim-Smith, an amazing woman, scholar and mentor. News of her passing was just relayed to the Bryn Mawr community, the weight of which I’m still processing.
Professor McKim-Smith has been an invaluable presence at Bryn Mawr since her arrival in 1982. Her passion for the arts and cultures of Latin America and Baroque Spain was inherent and never lost on her students. I had the pleasure of taking her course Material Identities in Latin America 1820-2010 in the fall of my sophomore year. Professor McKim-Smith guided us on lively field trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MoMA, and El Museo del Barrio. Her lectures were dynamic, engaging, and above all, inspiring.
I am also lucky to have known her as a mentor. Professor McKim-Smith was always an invaluable resource in contemplating research topics and sources. I cherish the moments I spent in her office, sharing ideas and exchanging stories. She had encouraged me to apply for the combined AB/MA program and went out of her way to connect me with colleagues in fields I hope to pursue post-graduation. I had looked forward to taking more courses with her this spring and into next year as a graduate student.
I last saw Professor McKim-Smith on a late July afternoon in New York. I was making my way through the masses towards MoMA when I spotted her leaving the museum. She possessed an understated elegance that I had always admired. We spoke briefly about our summer adventures before comparing notes on the current New York exhibitions. She smiled and wished me luck before parting ways.
Professor McKim-Smith’s absence will be felt for many years to come. She was an immeasurable asset to the History of Art department and Bryn Mawr community at large.
One of my new positions on campus this year is interning with the Communications department. I had previously worked with the department as a Banter Blogger, but through this new role I’ve been able to interact as a regular team member. It’s been great getting to know my supervisors better and I even get my own office – which I lovingly refer to as my secondary carrel. I’ve contributed to social media and publicity operations through my previous internships off-campus, but it’s exciting to help share Bryn Mawr, a place I cherish, with the world.
One of my first projects was to interview my friend Angela for Bryn Mawr’s website. Angela received Dean’s funding to spend this past summer volunteering for a public health non-profit in Ghana. We met up for an Indian dinner in Erdman to discuss her travels and experiences. Angela and I were in the same Customs group, meaning we lived on the same hall freshman year, and have continued to live in the same dorm together for all four years. In addition to her great sense of humor and endless capacity for fun, she’s an amazing scholar, friend, and advocate. I’m so lucky to have been able to know her during my time at Bryn Mawr. I can’t wait to see what she does next! You can read my article about Angela here.
Angela and I with other members of our customs group at last year’s Radnor Holiday Party
While senior year is often marked by the love/hate relationship with one’s thesis, I’ve been making every effort to find outlets for non-academic fun. This fall I’ve created the Radnor Film Institute, a bi-weekly screening in my dorm’s common room. Our inaugural event featured Wet Hot American Summer and last week we had an Amy Heckerling double feature with Loser and Clueless. During my first year there was a senior film studies major in the dorm who was writing her thesis on 90s teen films. She would often have impromptu screenings of classics like Drive Me Crazy and 10 Things I Hate About You. It was an informal tradition I really cherished and am so excited to bring back this year.
It’s a fun time to decompress after classes and reconnect with my fellow residents. Many of us have made a point to live together for all four years. We’re all very different in our backgrounds and interests, but I love having this community of sisters that have been with me since my first week at Bryn Mawr.
Our mission statement echos this sentiment –
The Radnor Film Institute is non-profit organization devoted to fostering community and collective organizing. Films will be screened on a bi-weekly basis on the Radnor premises and are open to all residents. The series is curated by preeminent scholars in their field.
This year marks a lot of last firsts: last first class, last first fall registration, last first day of work, and so on. While I must admit I’ve sort of dreaded senior year – my last year at Bryn Mawr – things have been going so well I’ve hardly had time to dwell on my impending departure.
The first week of classes is just as fun for first years as it is for seniors. I attended Convocation and wore a bat robe (the vintage graduation robes dating back to the ’30s) for the first time since my Lantern Night. Not to mention Friday marks our first tradition of the year – Parade Night! Oh, and a little thing called sitting on the senior steps. Singing Bread & Roses, which is reserved only for seniors, was the most surreal event thus far. I remember the event so vividly from my first step sing — I can recall the exact moment when the senior songsmistress, another resident of my dorm and legend in her own right, called everyone to attention as the seniors began the iconic song. It was in that moment, sitting on the ground, staring up at them and the canopy of still-green leaves above, that I felt so overwhelmed with awe. It was one of many affirming moments that Bryn Mawr was the place for me.
My beloved little sister class
My, it’s been a minute! Hello, blogosphere. Since my last post, I’ve navigated several new milestones. First, I finished junior year and am officially senior complete with Anass-ing privileges. For those new to Bryn Mawr jargon, the Anass is our college cheer/chant and can only be started by seniors. I have yet to begin one personally — I guess you could say I’m waiting for a special moment or event.
Thanks to the generous funding available through the Dean’s Office, I spent this past summer working as a Curatorial Intern at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. I had the privilege of assisting several curators and a Bryn Mawr PhD candidate on the museum’s forthcoming Jason Rhoades exhibit. I also edited exhibition catalogs and provided extensive research for the department. It was a very rewarding, not to mention fun!, experience.
It was also the first summer I lived away from home. Since one of my parents lives in downtown Chicago, I’ve had the advantage of participating in many internship programs without having to relocate to an urban area. Although I did miss having my groceries magically appear every week (not to mention my family and pup!), living independently in Philadelphia was a fun adventure that reaffirmed my love for the city.
Further summer recap after the jump, including Chicago, Maine, New York, popsicles, and puppies.
One of the things that drew me to Bryn Mawr was the climate. The minute the temperature reaches 55 degrees, students flock to the greens. Because my dorm is slightly u-shaped it creates a private niche of green known as “Radnor Beach.” I love coming home from class or the library and grabbing a spot on a blanket next to several other friends and hallmates enjoying the sun. There’s always music being played, articles for class being read, nails being painted, and general lazing to be had. Because I’ve consciously made the decision to live in Radnor for my four years, the Beach has become a significant part of my experience. No early fall or spring is complete without it.
Radnor as seen from prime lazing spot on the Beach
The past few weeks have been tremendously busy– even for Bryn Mawr. I went to DC, saw Agnes Varda AND Guerrilla Girl “Frida Kahlo” speak, hosted a concert, and wrote several papers. Photo documentation is below (minus the paper writing. That’s a state nobody should see me in except the librarian). Continue reading
Bryn Mawr’s class of 2017 has been chosen. After countless tours and an abyss of application sorting, I’m excited to welcome newly accepted students to campus as a Tour Guide and Admissions Representative. Although this won’t be the class to replace mine (dark blue!), I was originally accepted with the current seniors, the red class. As I’ve mentioned previously in this blog, it’s all strangely bittersweet.
Hell Week is my favorite tradition but my least favorite to explain. As a tour guide, it can be a tricky line to walk. It’s difficult to convey to non-Bryn Mawr folk that this crazy, insane, boisterous week of nonsense isn’t as frightening as the name might suggest — it’s both fun (!) and meaningful. Most students cite their first Hell Week as one of the greatest moments of their undergraduate career. It certainly has its charms, debauchery aside.
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